Why is it useful to test shoes for harmful substances?

Like textiles, footwear is usually worn for long periods of time and often comes into direct contact with the skin. In addition, wearing shoes creates a warm and moist environment inside the footwear. However, despite their long life, leather shoes cannot be washed, unlike shoes made of textile materials.

Therefore, it is particularly important that shoes made of leather do not contain any harmful substances - especially since they consist of many different components. Each individual component from different stages of production, such as tanning or dyeing, represents a possible source of input for harmful substances, but at the same time must comply with legal requirements.

Which products do we test and certify for you?

In our independent, accredited laboratories, we test both shoes ready for sale (end products) and individual components for the manufacture of shoes (uppers, midsoles, outsoles, insoles, heel caps, etc.) according to OEKO-TEX® LEATHER STANDARD.

Certification according to LEATHER STANDARD usually takes place if the shoes or individual components as a whole are mainly made of leather. If, on the other hand, the largest part of the sales product is made up of textile materials, the article is certified according to OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100.

What are the benefits of LEATHER STANDARD certification of footwear?

For brands, retailers, suppliers

  • Reduced market risk
    through compliance with all legal requirements
  • Credible consumer communication
    through an independent, globally recognised and widely used product label
  • Additional benefits for your products
    through the proof of human-ecological safety in laboratory tests
  • Transparency and reduced certification costs
    through the use of already certified source materials and components

For consumers

  • Comprehensive and reliable safety
    through globally standardised and annually updated test criteria, testing methods close to use, control tests after certificate issue
  • Credibility and traceability
    through validity checks of certified articles

What makes LEATHER STANDARD certification of footwear unique?

The OEKO-TEX® LEATHER STANDARD certificate for footwear is only issued if all components comply with the required criteria of the LEATHER STANDARD RSL (Restricted Substances List) without exception.

A further prerequisite for certification is an on-site audit at the manufacturer of the sales product, i.e. at the supplier of shoe components or the manufacturer of the end product. In this way, we ensure that the quality assurance in the company is suitable for complying with the required OEKO-TEX® criteria during ongoing production.

Your big plus - the OEKO-TEX® modular system

LEATHER STANDARD certification is modular: certified source materials (e.g. uppers, linings) and individual components (e.g. insoles, midsoles, outsoles) are recognised at subsequent production stages without the need for renewed laboratory testing.

This principle offers convincing advantages especially to brands and retailers as well as manufacturers of ready-made articles:

  • Costs and responsibility for the human ecological safety of the certified end product are distributed across the entire value chain.
  • By using LEATHER STANDARD certified components, you ensure that your products meet the legal requirements in all major consumer markets even before the production of ready-to-sell footwear.
  • The OEKO-TEX® Buying Guide provides you with a free online directory of certified source materials and components that you can refer to specifically in your sourcing.
  • The LEATHER STANDARD certificate makes it easier and faster for you to select, verify and communicate with suitable suppliers.
  • The LEATHER STANDARD is an optimal instrument for your operational quality assurance without you having to maintain know-how and resources for ensuring human ecological product safety.
  • With your footwear collections, you are always up-to-date in terms of product stewardship, as the OEKO-TEX® RSL is updated annually and harmonised with international laws and the harmful substance requirements of industry initiatives.


Vinod Kumar
Managing Director
Hohenstein India